Regarding the first question, Chris White replied: “You absolutely can find them pretty easily with simple things: plates, inoculation loops, and patience.” The major limiting factors, he added, are finding strains that have an acceptable tolerance to alcohol and consume a sufficiently wide range of sugars.
Some insight into the second question (for which there’s probably no concise answer) came from Dr. Charles Bamforth, noted beer author and Anheuser-Busch Endowed Professor of Brewing Science at UC Davis. A graduate researcher working with Bamforth, Nick Bokulich, has been studying spontaneously fermented wild ales produced in the U.S. While these beers’ Belgian counterparts have long been revered for their layered complexities (resulting from the hundreds of different wild yeasts and bacteria naturally resident in that region), the beer-friendly microbiological diversity available elsewhere is comparatively unexplored. When asked how the characteristics ended up measuring up between U.S. and Belgian wild ales, Bamforth said, “The successions of the microorganisms involved are very comparable. The similarities are obvious.”
Which bodes well for any brewers wondering where they can get some yeast traps.